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Spanish producers & DJs Jordi Llado and Jaime Bolin met via Barcelona-Madrid, forging an unbreakable bond as they took on the mantle of Odd Ones Out. Circumstances saw them make the jump from Europe over to America, where they made contact with the French producer known as Coupe Melba through a mutual friend. With undeniable chemistry, the three of them have become regular collaborators and friends, and are now riding sweet off the back of their ‘Biscayne Lady’ single, featuring Milu on vocals.
We caught up with Odd Ones Out & Coupe Melba to discuss their new single ‘Biscayne Lady’, their experiences as they moved to America, how they connected, and their future.
Electronic Groove: Hi guys! How are you doing? It’s a pleasure to have you here. Where are you based right now? All three in USA? How have you been handling the whole situation?
Odd Ones Out: Hey! We’re doing great, the pleasure is ours. At the moment we’re in between Miami and Madrid, the first months were a little chaotic since the borders were closed and we couldn’t travel to Spain but after we realized this pandemic would be long-term, we focused more on producing and developing our skills. Last summer we started a record label and booking agency called Odd Pleasures and we’ve been working with a lot of international artists, growing as a community and curating our sound. Now that we got a good base our focus is to be the bridge between upcoming European artists and the United States.
Coupe Melba: Thanks for having us! I am currently based in sunny Los Angeles, near the ocean in Santa Monica. COVID-19 has definitely been an unfortunate time in many aspects, and being locked away for so long is tough. However I tried to make the most of it, and actually started this Coupe Melba project during quarantine, which I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t stuck at home all day! I also learned how to surf and I’m now able to keep sane by going out and being in the ocean in the mornings. Surfing and music producing ain’t a bad life all things considered, so silver lining maybe?
Electronic Groove: So, we know you’re all Europeans making it in America. What’s the story behind that? Did you move for music-related reasons?
Odd Ones Out: We were born in Madrid and Barcelona. We met each other around 7 years ago and our friendship was established during Sonar where we’ll spend the whole week at Jordi’s house going to parties together with the rest of our friends. In 2018 we transferred from an American school in Madrid to Miami and after playing a couple of times together, based on a very good chemistry, we decided to start Odd Ones Out. We didn’t move to the United States for music-related reasons but it could be said that music definitely found us and put us in the same direction.
Coupe Melba: I grew up in Bordeaux, France, drinking wine before I could do long divisions (joking, kinda). I moved to California originally for university and then moved down to Los Angeles after graduating to try out the music thing, as well as for my first job, which was in analytics at Warner Music Group. I have stayed for the same reasons, even though I have a different job now, and for the sun. Can’t beat it!
Electronic Groove: Musically, what’s your background like? Do you guys have formal studies?
Odd Ones Out: We both come from artistic backgrounds. Jaime’s father plays the bass at a Spanish band called La Union, and Jordi’s works in the art world. Our moms work in fashion and interior design which also helped us with the notion of aesthetics. We played guitar and piano as kids and would listen to the classics like The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, but quickly jumped into the electronic music scene as, by the time we started listening to house and techno, Madrid and Barcelona scene’s were growing at a very quick pace. That allowed us to get residencies in clubs like Goya Social Club when they were just taking off back in 2015. Lots of hip-hop, r&b, and soul as well. We´ll be graduating in Communications in May!
Coupe Melba: I’ve been playing classical piano since I was 4, and the guitar since I was 10. I definitely know less theory than I should, but I’ve been getting into jazz theory in the last 2-3 years and it’s been a real mind opener. Thinking about music in simpler concepts like tension and release, as opposed to what music should be, and ‘traditional theory’, has really changed the way I compose, and expanded my toolkit of options when it comes to producing. Still learning and loving it!
Electronic Groove: And how did you guys meet? Was there chemistry from the get-go? When did you decide you’d collaborate together?
Coupe Melba: The story of how we met is the same as that of how I often meet other producers: through my brother Adrien, who is as sociable as they come and is a talented producer, and somehow seems to know everyone. My brother and Jordi were good friends in the same grade at our High School in the UK I believe, and they kept in touch as the years went by and as they both got into electronic music. My brother introduced me to Jordi and Jaime (Odd Ones Out) to make our first EP with them, ‘Pelota’, out now on their label Odd Pleasures. Jaime then messaged me to see if I wanted to work on a track idea they had, which eventually became ‘Biscayne Lady’.
Odd Ones Out: As we listened to some of Coupe’s first productions we instantly fell in love with his sound and skills in the studio. The relationship started off releasing ‘Pelota’ (which reached top 1 on Beatport’s minimal releases last week) and later on, we invited Coupe to be part of the Odd Pleasures agency along with his brother Adrien. When we had Milu record the first draft of ‘Biscayne Lady’ we knew something was missing and that’s when we sent the track over to him to put on his amazing touch.
Electronic Groove: And now you’ve got ‘Biscayne Lady’ out on Another Rhythm, right? What’s the story behind this one? How long did it take to complete?
Odd Ones Out: ‘Biscayne Lady’ started as a minimal cut but when we added Milu’s vocals (at first recorded with an iPhone) we thought about completely changing the vibe of the track. We sent some stems to Coupe that included the chords, percussion, some synths, the sketch of a bassline, and of course Milu’s iPhone recording. He completed the bassline with some extra notes and that raging Moog sound, arranged the drums to increase the grooviness, and added some chords and breaks that instantly made us love what Coupe brought to the equation. After playing the track in Mexico during a boutique tour we did in November, our manager Andres from Good Life put us in contact with Another Rhythm. Four months later the track is out and we´ve loved the treatment received by the AR team.
Coupe Melba: From my perspective, we were really aligned on how we communicated about music, and what we wanted for the track. There wasn’t really that much back and forth, and we completed the track pretty quickly I think! I will probably defer to OOO to talk about how we then got to Another Rhythm, but needless to say, when Jaime told me they were taking the track, I was insanely excited. Their reputation precedes them!
Electronic Groove: What was it that drew you guys to Milu’s voice? How did you meet her?
Coupe Melba: This is all credit to OOO! They know each other as they are both based in Miami. All I know is that one day, I got a crazy good draft in my inbox of a vocal line recorded on a phone, and the rest is history! I can’t believe this is her first foray into singing, crazy talented.
Odd Ones Out: We spent months looking for a vocalist for the first draft of ‘Biscayne Lady’. Just when we were about to forget the idea of adding vocals, we ran into a post of Milu singing a cover of an R&B song. We didn’t know each other but had some friends in common so it took us a minute to DM her asking for a collaboration. We sent the song to her and a couple of days later we met at our place. Milu showed up with a bottle of red wine and played us a voice note of her singing the chorus on loop at a party. Even with all the background noise, we knew we had something. After spending the whole afternoon getting to know each other, she wrote the lyrics, made the iPhone recording and when Coupe finished with the instrumental part we went to Rakoon Sound Studios in Miami where we made a professional recording of her vocals. It was her first time ever recording and releasing a song so we’re glad that we found her. The track had a story to tell and Milu portrayed it to perfection.
“All I know is that one day, I got a crazy good draft in my inbox of a vocal line recorded on a phone, and the rest is history!”
– Coupe Melba
Electronic Groove: Could you tell us a bit more about your process in the studio? How did you go about on this one, given that everyone’s miles away?
Coupe Melba: I work in Ableton Live, and I’m mostly in the box, meaning I basically impulse buy music software on the regular. Jaime sent me a very classic minimal house structure, with some nice washy pads, lo fi-ish percussion, and a great start for a bassline. Given we were in the heart of COVID, I was already used to working with people remotely. Usually, when there are difficulties in communication when working with other producers, I’ll get on a Zoom call and we’ll work on the track together, but working with OOO was super seamless and just going back and forth via email was enough. I always like to work on basslines early on, and so I went to work, building on the melodic and chord structure that they had established. And as someone who loves Disclosure, and was watching their live streams avidly, I had to add some Disclosure-like synths as well as some UKG off-beat percussion to create some more movement. It was a very frictionless and awesome process for me. And when Milu finally placed her vocals, I knew we struck gold! Went ahead on the mix, and sent it back to OOO and we closed the track.
Odd Ones Out: We work on Ableton Live as well. We really find inspiration in everything that happens in our lives whether it is good or bad. We had some amazing memories in Spain, Miami, and the US in general so every track we make has a story behind it. We’re also big fans of basslines and unique sounds. So after we get a good set of drums and a kick-ass bassline, we like to play around blending classic pianos or guitars with more acidic and modern sounds. Working with Coupe was very smooth, we had a very good working flow since the beginning and we enjoyed getting out of our comfort zone as we were focusing on a more minimalistic vibe. We like to experiment with all types of genres and sounds so you’ll not see two Odd Ones Out EPs that have a similar vibe that’s for sure.
Electronic Groove: So, what’s in store for Odd Ones Out & Coupe Melba for the rest of the year? What can we expect from you guys moving forward?
Coupe Melba: Since I’ve been locked up in my house, I’ve produced a lot during quarantine. Thankfully, the electronic music community has really come together during these times, and I’ve found labels and premiere channels have been very responsive and supportive. I have a nice string of releases planned up monthly until the last quarter of 2021, from disco house to harder tech house, and a couple of great collabs with my brother Adrien! With the vaccine effort underway in the US, I’m hoping I get to fly to Miami soon, meet my awesome ‘Biscayne Lady’ collaborators and friends, and maybe finally DJ for a crowd! And of course, still working with the OOO guys!
Odd Ones Out: We’re all about connecting people! Our plan is to grow our brand Odd Pleasures with cool international releases and travel with the artists of the Agency. We also found a couple of residencies in Miami that will allow us to showcase our sound a little bit more. In terms of productions, we got an EP on the works with Coupe, another one with Miami-based Demenz, and a couple of solo releases as well. We can’t wait to bring Adrien, Coupe, and the rest of the artists of our agency to Miami so we can all play and jam together!
Electronic Groove: Thank you for your time guys! We wish you all the best! Have a great year!
Coupe Melba: You too! Thanks for taking the time and best wishes! Hope to talk to you all again!
Odd Ones Out: Thank you for having us! All the best for this amazing outlet in 2021.
Odd Ones Out & Coupe Melba’s ‘Biscayne Lady’ is out now via Another Rhythm. Grab your copy here.